In a city in which 26% of the population live below the poverty line, The Story Museum has a lively and vibrant participation programme, working with selected schools, community groups and families where we can have an especially significant impact on literacy, creativity, wellbeing and social cohesion.
Thanks to our generous funders, we can offer activity at a heavily subsidised rate or cost-free to participants enabling those who cannot usually access our offer to engage with the transformative power of story.
You have made students who don’t want to write, want to write! - Headteacher, June 2022
Start With a Story
Start with a Story is a three-year project for early years children and their families, who are less likely to be able to access cultural activity in areas of disadvantage in Oxfordshire. By providing in-centre opportunities for story-based learning and following up with Story Museum visits we aim to empower children to be the narrator of their own story and equip them with the tools they need to prepare them for future success. Our partners for 23-24 are Growing Minds and Donnington Doorstep.
“My 2-year-old was so keen to get the story started on week 3 that she ran outside to get her mum shouting excitedly “Mummy Story!” and clapped her hands.” - Participant, June 2023
By providing a year-long programme of Museum visits and in-school workshops, a weekly reading club for targeted students, a magical Story Suitcase and teacher CPD in oral storytelling, we establish an ethos of stories into our selected schools' communities. Our Spellbound Schools for 2023-24 are St Christopher’s CE Primary School, John Henry Newman Academy, Abbey Woods Academy, St Francis CE Primary, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, St Ebbe’s C of E Primary and St Mary’s and St John’s C of E Primary School.
Blue Sky Book Clubs
Our Spellbound Schools select a small group of students to take part in a weekly book club led by a member of our Learning Team. Each student is gifted 2 books and we meet in school for sessions to engage them with the story and raise their motivation to read the books.
Extreme Reading Adventures
Now in its ninth iteration, our much-loved project engages 24 nominated students who, over 6 weeks, are gifted a book per week and an adventure linked to the book. This project has been running since 2014 with outstanding impact results on raising students’ motivation to read for pleasure.
The Wild Escape
Funded by ArtFund and coinciding with our new temporary exhibition, Brilli-ANT, we have welcomed over 50 students for sponsored visits to the Museum to co-curate insect sculptures and pilot our new Minibeast Adventure, a climate-themed session.
This programme will create the next generation of story makers by enabling 12 to 16-year-old Story Creators, Story Correspondents and Story Curators to work side by side with arts professionals on a range of exciting projects.
Everything is Connected
We have commissioned three new stories by Piers Torday, Sita Bramachari and Patience Agbabi on climate activism and a new future. The award-winning writers will run workshops in secondary schools, adult masterclasses and panel discussions on how stories can help us imagine a better future.
The Story Exchange: Funded by Paul Hamlyn
A year of advanced, practice-based CPD for teachers to explore and develop the impact of oracy on socio-emotional literacy in students. 14 teachers involved from 8 partner schools train in oral storytelling techniques and team-deliver storytelling to students with Story Leaders.
Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils: Founded by Cheltenham Festivals
RTRP is a reading group for teachers to ignite their love of children's literature, because when teachers read, children read. 15 teachers from our Spellbound Schools and beyond are gifted 5 high quality children's books over the course of a year.
"I have learnt so much and developed more confidence and knowledge about children's literature and reading for pleasure. It has been invaluable for my teaching career!" Participating teacher
Week of Welcome
In our annual Week of Welcome we invite families who have recently arrived in the UK to explore the therapeutic and joyous world of story at The Story Museum. Translators in Arabic, Pashtu, Farsi and Ukrainian, who had themselves been in The Story Museum’s 2021 project Beyond Amal, facilitate these sessions.
Caribbeanity Now: Partnership with The Oxford Research Centre in Humanities (TORCH) researching, sharing and celebrating Caribbean Stories with intergenerational participants in Oxford.
Storyteller, Jan Blake
shared Caribbean stories with students from Pegasus School and St John Fisher Academy. The children also explored how stories travel and the cultural and
historical forces that shape stories. Working with ACKHI (African and
Caribbean Kultural Heritage Initiative) Jan also met Caribbean and African elders living in Oxford, who fondly shared memories of the
stories, songs and riddles they grew up with.
Artist in Residence, Julia Head will work with a group of disabled children and young people to co-create an installation to make the Museum more accessible.